Can Student Loans be Forgiven?

October 6, 20220


There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for student loan forgiveness. Your options depend on your individual circumstances, the type of student loan you have, and where it was borrowed from. Let’s look at the options for federal loans first. This begs the question, Can Student Loans be Forgiven?

There’s no way to pay off federal student loans based on how long you’ve had them.

There’s no way to pay off federal student loans based on how long you’ve had them. There are only two ways a borrower can get their debt forgiven, and they don’t give a hoot about how long you’ve been paying on your student loans.

The first option is through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which is available to those who work in certain public service positions for 10 years and make 120 qualifying payments during this time period. You can learn more about PSLF here. The second option is through income-based repayment programs, but these are not eligible for forgiveness at all—they simply let you lower or eliminate your monthly payment by extending the term of the loan or capping your monthly payments at an affordable amount based on what you earn each month.

Direct Consolidation Loans cannot qualify for forgiveness.

If you have Direct Consolidation Loans—loans that have been consolidated with other federal student loans—you are not eligible for forgiveness. If this is the case, you can still consolidate your federal student loans into one loan with a lower interest rate. To learn how to do this, visit our Student Loan Consolidation page.

Income-based loan forgiveness programs can be a better deal than Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

For example, if you’re a marketing executive making $90,000 and your student loans are at least $60,000, your monthly payments on the Income-Based Repayment plan will be about $260. Under the Pay As You Earn program, it would be about $165.

That means you could save over $500 per month by switching to PAYE instead of staying in IBR and allowing your debt to grow with interest.

This is because there’s no time limit on eligibility for income-based repayment plans (IBR or PAYE), while Public Service Loan Forgiveness only applies to borrowers who have been repaying their federal student loans for 10 years (120 payments) while working full time at certain types of public service organizations—like the Peace Corp or AmeriCorps.

You may be eligible for a “closed school” discharge of your student loans if your school closed.

  • You may be eligible for a “closed school” discharge of your student loans if your school closed.
  • You must meet certain requirements to qualify.
  • You must have been enrolled at the school when it closed, and you must not have completed or withdrawn from the program that was being offered at that time.

If you have private student loans, you may get some of your loans forgiven, but it depends on the terms of your promissory note.

If you have private student loans, the rules for forgiveness vary depending on the terms of your promissory note.

If you have a Federal Direct or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loan, your loans are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you’re interested in PSLF and want to know more about it before you get started, check out this page from Student Debt Relief.

To find out if your private student loans are eligible for other types of forgiveness programs offered by lenders, contact them directly and ask how their program works.

Students who claim bankruptcy are not automatically granted a discharge of their student loans.

If you’re struggling to repay your student loans, filing for bankruptcy isn’t going to help. Unlike other debts—including credit card debt and personal loans—student loans aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy. You can’t get rid of student loans by filing for bankruptcy. While this may sound dismal at first glance, there are actually some options available if you think that’s the best way forward:

  • If you’re struggling with your payments on a federal loan (one taken out through the Direct Loan program or one where the U.S. Department of Education owns part of your loan), consider asking for forbearance or deferment. This will pause payments until you can get back on track financially and start making payments again without incurring any late charges or penalties that may be associated with missing payments early on in the repayment period.* If you decide that consolidation is right for you, there are several types from which to choose based on factors like interest rate and length of the repayment period.* Many state agencies offer assistance programs for low-income borrowers who haven’t been able to make their monthly payments due either due to financial hardship or unemployment after leaving school; contact yours today to learn more about these resources!

Your options for student loan forgiveness will depend on where your student loan money came from and when it was borrowed.

Your options for student loan forgiveness will depend on where your student loan money came from and when it was borrowed.

The most common type of forgiveness is income-based forgiveness, which may be available to you if you have certain types of federal loans. In order to qualify, you must have an income below a certain threshold (as determined by the Department of Education) and make payments for at least 10 years. If so, any remaining balance can be forgiven after 20 or 25 years depending on the program; however, interest continues to accrue during this time period until the loan is paid off in full. To learn more about each type of income-based repayment plan check out this article from NerdWallet.

Another common way to receive student loan forgiveness is through public service programs like AmeriCorps or Peace Corps Volunteers who work in service areas designated by the government as critical needs areas such as health care or education; the Department of Education has a list here with links explaining how these programs work including eligibility requirements and benefits offered through them).

There are also several ways that borrowers can discharge their debt if they experience severe hardship due to circumstances beyond their control including death or disability incurred as a result of military service; illness/injury incurred during active duty military service; permanent disability preventing employment resulting from an injury sustained while serving on active duty (elements covered under 38 USC § 3014(a)(1)(A))


If you’re considering a student loan forgiveness program, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions. You may also want to consider refinancing your loans with a private lender who can help you secure lower payments and save money on interest over time.